Home Institution

Ithaca College

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy


This study explored music as the guide on the pathway to empowerment and wellbeing at a nonprofit organization called Durban Music School. Using narrative inquiry, I have collected stories from different people involved with Durban Music school as well my own observations and reflections. Through finding empowerment through music myself, I was able to add in my personal experiences to compliment the experience of others. Using informal interviews and conversations, direct observations, journaling, and playing guitar as a method of inner reflection, I looked to explore through stories how underprivileged individuals have found empowerment through their musical journey. Out of the nine participants that participated, only three are current students at Durban Music School. The other participants are the teachers and the CEO at Durban Music School as well as one parent. Main themes from the stories include the importance of voice, vision, discipline, value, and community. Overall, there seemed to be evidence of positive impacts on the student’s self-image and self-worth. Previous studies and literature are included in the study that emphasize the same findings. While this study was not in-depth or significant enough to make any conclusions about health behavior change, the positive impacts cannot be overlooked or ignored. This project adds personal stories to complement existing research on this topic.


African Studies | Multicultural Psychology | Music Education | Music Therapy | Rehabilitation and Therapy | Sociology of Culture


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